Help if the lights go outImagine if the city was blacked out not for hours but days because the city crews could not handle a state of emergency.
By: Matt Suoja, Lake County News Chronicle
Imagine if the city was blacked out not for hours but days because the city crews could not handle a state of emergency.
That situation could be avoided in the future if Steve Blettner, the electrical superintendent for Two Harbors, gets his way.
Blettner suggested to the Two Harbors City Council Monday that he would like the city to join the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association. “If something happens to our system, I just make one phone call,” he said. As a member, other municipalities could come to Two Harbors’ aid.
According to its Web site, the “MMUA provides a number of mutual aid services to its members. MMUA has helped a number of members through natural disasters. This has included an MMUA staff person on-site to help assess damage and needs and coordinate emergency response, and additional help in rounding up equipment, materials and manpower. We also have a sample mutual aid agreement and a radio communications program.”
“We may be called for help,” Blettner said. “In no way are we required to go … obviously our system comes first.”
Costs would come only if another city came to help. Association members are allowed to bill for providing services.
“We’ve been on the fringe of every major storm here,” he said, adding so far the crews have been able to handle it, but one day they might not be able to.
The council will consider the request.
In other council news:
- City Attorney Steve Overom said a brief was filed with the Minnesota Supreme Court in the city’s case against Sam Cave. Overom felt the high court would announce its decision on whether or not to hear the case by the middle of December.
- The council discussed whether or not alcohol could be served at events (class reunions, weddings) at the Two Harbors Community Center. It is currently not allowed. Overom has concerns about underage drinking and added insurance costs. City Councilors Dan Jones and Jason Kuettel both were wary of the idea because it may take away from other businesses in town.
- The council approved the $4,000 purchase of two flat-screen televisions and a home theater system from the Cable Commission budget, for the community center. Councilor John Dover said the items would be used for community dances and would also be available to anyone who rents the community center. “It’s a great addition,” Dover said.
- Council members discussed how they will cut $20,000 from its budget to hire a police officer position and one for public works.
One possibility is delaying the hiring process.